Guillaume Gauthereau is no stranger to luxury -- and he's been in the dog house, too. Quite literally. Gauthereau, a PhD and veterinarian, started his career in the pet-food industry in France, then launched his own website called Alidoo.com (basically, the French version of Pets.com). When that went under in the first dotcom crash, Gauthereau landed in retail, first at Louis Vuitton and later at Lalique Limited in New York.
In 2008, Gauthereau began questioning his life plan. He was on planes nearly as often as he was on terra firma, and there was no end in sight. So, after taking a few months off to travel for fun, he reprioritized. In addition to a better work-life balance, Gauthereau says he wanted "to have more of an impact and to make a difference in people's lives. Also, I wanted to build another company from scratch."
Gauthereau, along with two other partners (Christophe Garnier and a mystery man they call "Remy"), did some research and decided to launch a private-sale site for moms. Why did these three guys choose moms? "We looked at sports, interior decoration and many other segments. But, we thought the opportunity was much bigger in the parenting, family, mother segment than in any other," he states. "You have a broad range of products to sell, from toys, to services to food items. It's a really fun segment. And moms are a highly connected audience. You reach one, you reach many." And in 2009, their baby Totsy.com, was born.
What a fast-growing baby it's been! Within two short years, Totsy.com has grown to 115 employees and has 2 million members. At one point last year, the site overwhelmed its logistics center. "We were growing 40 to 50 percent a month, and our logistics center couldn't ship products as fast as we were selling them." After customers complained, Totsy.com moved quickly to switch to a new state-of-the-art shipping facility. What would he have done differently? "We would have paid more to get to a bigger logistics partner earlier. We were trying to stretch as much as possible."
Jennifer Hill, a startup lawyer with Gunderson Dettmer, and I spoke to Gauthereau about how to handle fast growth, how to create a killer advisory board and how to make your marketing meet your message, among other things. Watch the video and share your thoughts below!